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Bestest best of the web?
August 13, 2006 9:07 AM   Subscribe

Websites that changed the world? This Observer piece lists fifteen websites that aught to be considered the best of the web. It's a bold claim and although the potted histories are excellent, I'm wondering the extent to which it mostly includes website that have broken the public recognition barrier in the uk rather than changing the world. How many are simply pioneers in their field? Where for example is flickr?
posted by feelinglistless (69 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I guess listing both flickr AND youtube would be a little redundant.
posted by Artw at 9:10 AM on August 13, 2006


I've never even heard of friendsreunited.com and easyjet.com.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:13 AM on August 13, 2006


Let me say it just once for all of us, and we'll have this part of the discussion out of the way.

"Why isn't (fill in the blank) listed? This list sucks!"
posted by HuronBob at 9:15 AM on August 13, 2006


"aught"?
posted by jonson at 9:25 AM on August 13, 2006


I haven't heard of friendsreunited either. Easyjet is a European thing, which makes sense given the list's origin.

I'm surprised mapquest didn't make the list. I no longer know how to get from point A to B without using the web.
posted by justkevin at 9:31 AM on August 13, 2006


jonson : "'aught'?"

It seems like a fair list, but I agree that they ought not write about things that haven't aught to do with changing the world.
posted by Bugbread at 9:31 AM on August 13, 2006


Faint of Butt - It's a British newspaper, hence the list leans towards British sites. That said Easyjet pretty much invented the low-cost internet-mediated air travel business.
posted by Artw at 9:32 AM on August 13, 2006


This is a silly fluff piece just like all the other silly bits of fluff that mainstream media cranks out by the barge-load, and it makes the mistakes typical of such pieces. I mean, listing Napster as a website? C'mon.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:37 AM on August 13, 2006


www.linux.org

www.microsoft.com

most of us wouldn't even be ON the web without those two ...
posted by pyramid termite at 9:39 AM on August 13, 2006


Napster wasn't a website.
posted by euphorb at 9:48 AM on August 13, 2006


Jonson: "Aught"
posted by feelinglistless at 9:48 AM on August 13, 2006


Oh ought ...
posted by feelinglistless at 9:49 AM on August 13, 2006


Project Gutenberg? One of the first collective efforts to start knowledge repository.

As well as Archive.org?!?!
posted by homodigitalis at 9:50 AM on August 13, 2006


I love how they use wikipedia.com instead of wikipedia.org. And I'll rephrase pyramid termite's comment as "napster is software, not a site." Might be best to arrange by "site types" with a first major & best now, i.e. yahooo & google.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:58 AM on August 13, 2006


Not a bad list really, some sites I'd never heard of but that's to be expected. And, of course, there are a bunch of sites that I think could have been added in place of others. But I think they hit it decently well, I'll give them a B, maybe a B- for having Drudge in there.
posted by fenriq at 10:03 AM on August 13, 2006


I've never even heard of friendsreunited.com

!!!
posted by Mocata at 10:10 AM on August 13, 2006


The easiest way to right this article would've been to post the top fifteen overall:

Alexa's Top 500

Plus, this list sucks because it disn't inlude Keith & The Girl
posted by jsavimbi at 10:14 AM on August 13, 2006


The reason the Guardian/Observer fails to include modern conveniences such as screenshots or "hyperlinks" is what?
posted by scheptech at 10:14 AM on August 13, 2006


Because it is a reprint of a newspaper article?
posted by Orange Goblin at 10:20 AM on August 13, 2006


Because it's print content repurposed via an automated process?
posted by Artw at 10:20 AM on August 13, 2006


Huh? Where's Live Score? An definate essential.
posted by wfc123 at 10:28 AM on August 13, 2006


Slashdot, with its limited-genre audience, does not deserve to be listed there. Realistically, its world-changing effects are really limited.

linkedin.com, as the first major networking site?
alibaba.com?
posted by Kickstart70 at 10:35 AM on August 13, 2006


Because it's print content repurposed via an automated process?

Well, good call but I find it grumpifiying to read a web article about the web highlighting the most important web sites on the web that doesn't utilize the fundamental element of the web to help navigate the web and see what web sites the web article is referring to.
posted by scheptech at 10:37 AM on August 13, 2006


The easiest way to right this article

right??

Okay, I'm done.
posted by jonson at 10:40 AM on August 13, 2006


The reason the Guardian/Observer fails to include modern conveniences such as screenshots or "hyperlinks" is what?

Because its made out of newspaper?
posted by davehat at 10:55 AM on August 13, 2006


Irregardless, it has the rite to right they're list about sites whom aught to have changed the werld, but instead effected ought. Am I rite?
posted by blue_beetle at 10:58 AM on August 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


It seemed skewed to me when Google wasn't at the top of the list and YouTube was #4. and I never look at DrudgeReport. But it was interesting to see what was considered tops in Britain or in a Brit newspaper.

Friends Reunited is an awesome site for the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa & neighbouring states, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. We really ought to have something comparable to this in the USA. Classmates.com doesn't come close. KidsCamp.com reunion page is fun, found some ancient friends again.

For example on FriendsReunited one can look up the street where one lived, old jobs one worked at, teams or clubs one was in, any level of school or the armed forces. It's nicely organised.
posted by nickyskye at 11:00 AM on August 13, 2006



Because its made out of newspaper?


I sure hope it's not enormous amounts of paper, enormous amounts of paper. Might clog something.
posted by owhydididoit at 11:05 AM on August 13, 2006


davehat writes "Because its made out of newspaper?"

What I just read was most definitely not made of newspaper: it was made of HTML. Poorly made, at that.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:05 AM on August 13, 2006


jonson : "right??

Okay, I'm done."


No, "right" may be correct there. "To correct, to fix". Like "we must right our wrongs". Hence, "The easiest way to right this article" possibly meaning "The easiest way to correct what is wrong with this article" (though, I will admit, posting the top Alexa hits seems less like "righting" the article than "completely changing it", so maybe he really did mean "write").

I've never even heard of friendsreunited.com

Mocata : "!!!"

I hadn't either. And I knew easyjet.
posted by Bugbread at 11:09 AM on August 13, 2006


Woah! SlashDot's on the list but MetaFilter isn't?

WHAT.
THE.
FUCK.
MATT????
posted by ZachsMind at 11:18 AM on August 13, 2006


www.linux.org
www.microsoft.com
most of us wouldn't even be ON the web without those two ...
posted by pyramid termite at 9:39 AM PST


If neither existed, no biggy. So long as www.freebsd.org exists, the internet will continue.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:24 AM on August 13, 2006


Where for example is flickr?

Apart from for a few hipsters, flickr hasn't really changed anything. It made it marginally easier to put photos online, and it's a cool site, but it's had none of the impact of YouTube.
posted by cillit bang at 11:29 AM on August 13, 2006


Technically speaking, hasn't every site that's gone up changed the world in some small way?
posted by chasing at 11:33 AM on August 13, 2006


pirates
posted by zouhair at 11:34 AM on August 13, 2006


What I just read was most definitely not made of newspaper: it was made of HTML. Poorly made, at that.

In their defence, they're using an ancient CMS and are tied to a shovelwear approach to the content because that's how the press (and the media in general) first approached the web back the day when most people didn't 'get' it.

I'm sure they wouldn't be averse to change, but change costs time and money (new CMS, new standards and practices, etc).

On the other hand, they do owe it to their web audience (which is very substantial) to improve the experience -- inline links and semantic URLs, for instance, would be a great start -- so criticism is fair enough.
posted by macdara at 11:43 AM on August 13, 2006


Friendsreunited.com? No.
Goatse.cx? Yes.
posted by Tube at 11:43 AM on August 13, 2006


Where for example is flickr?

Er, it's mentioned in the piece you link to. And what cillit bang said. (Not that I don't think Flickr is great - it's the only website I've ever payed to use.)
posted by jack_mo at 11:43 AM on August 13, 2006


Flickr is the Apple Mac of the Web 2.0 world: Anyone who's used it becomes so obnoxiously obsessed with it that everyone else just wants to throw rocks at them.
posted by Artw at 12:01 PM on August 13, 2006


I believe del.icio.us should be on this list. That site has certainly changed my world much more than genre sites like the Drudge Report and SlashDot.
posted by jkafka at 12:14 PM on August 13, 2006


6. friendsreunited.com

I've never even heard of this site. Must be a British thing.

11. salon.com

These guys are still around?

14. yahoo.com

Why do people still care about Yahoo? Oh yeah, they bought a bunch of companies, didn't they?

15. easyjet.com

Again, must be a British thing.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:17 PM on August 13, 2006


Artw : "Flickr is the Apple Mac of the Web 2.0 world: Anyone who's used it becomes so obnoxiously obsessed with it that everyone else just wants to throw rocks at them."

As a non-Flickr user, I can totally agree with that. I have nothing against Flickr, but will the rest of you please stop going on and on about it!!
posted by Bugbread at 12:19 PM on August 13, 2006


(Not that I don't think Flickr is great - it's the only website I've ever payed to use.)

How'd you post, then?
posted by owhydididoit at 12:27 PM on August 13, 2006



posted by mkultra at 12:33 PM on August 13, 2006


owhydididoit- Registration here used to be free, before Matt's bills got too high.
posted by mkultra at 12:36 PM on August 13, 2006


friendsreunited.com: Yes, because it's a popular British site.
drudgereport.com: Yes, because it's a popular site, period.

But wait a minute, is Drudge really all that popular in the UK? Who exactly is this article written for?
posted by JHarris at 12:39 PM on August 13, 2006


Salon? Check, please!
posted by mojohand at 1:01 PM on August 13, 2006


Addendum to mkultra's comment: Paid registration started in November 2004. Anyone who has been a member since before that has paid no money.
posted by Bugbread at 1:02 PM on August 13, 2006


Er, well, they may well have voluntarily donated money. So I should probably say "has not necessarily paid any money" instead of "has paid no money".
posted by Bugbread at 1:02 PM on August 13, 2006


To be honest I don't think Drudge is that popular in the UK. Sometimes it'll warrant a mention in The Guardian but I think only time anyone has heard it 'over here' is referenced on The West Wing.
posted by feelinglistless at 1:03 PM on August 13, 2006


We really ought to have something comparable to this in the USA

It's one of the things people use Myspace for, since you can list your schools.

This list sucks, however, because it does not list Zombo.com. I mean c'mon, you can do anything at Zombo.com! The only limit is yourself.
posted by First Post at 1:21 PM on August 13, 2006


I think Drudge is only mentioned because of Monicagate.
posted by criticalbill at 1:30 PM on August 13, 2006


I'm British, and have been using them thar intarweb since 1997 and I can honestly say that I'd never even heard of drudgereport.com until recently. I've never visited it.

It's an odd list, this - far from UK-centric. Craigslist, for example, has a single 'London' site. And Salon.com is hardly a site that most UK users will have ever heard of.

Easyjet deserve to be on there. They did kinda invent low-cost, no-frills online air travel. Just because you didn't know about it in Hicksville, Nebraska doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Ask again in 2 years - I very much doubt that YouTube and MySpace will be on this list...
posted by metaxa at 1:31 PM on August 13, 2006


6. friendsreunited.com

I've never even heard of this site. Must be a British thing.


Think classmates.com for Brits only much better execution, and far less annoying advertising.
posted by Zinger at 1:43 PM on August 13, 2006


NAPSTER WASN'T A WEBSITE

God damnit.
posted by delmoi at 2:17 PM on August 13, 2006


linux.com
www.microsoft.com

most of us wouldn't even be ON the web without those two ...


I owe my internet access to Adam C. Engst's
Internet Starter Kit for Macintosh. (1st Edition.)

The TCP/IP stack direct from Apple cost $100 or something
but you could get it free with this $30 book.

Of course, the web barely existed back then, (pre-Mosaic)
and linux wasn't much more than a mere kernel.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:01 PM on August 13, 2006


Yeah. Napster certainly changed the world, but if you're going to put dwn the website you might as well list Mozilla as well. Whatever. It's a fluff piece.

Still, I'd like to see an article on 15 popular websites which have done nothing at all to change the world, from hamsterdance to kittenwar. That would be entertaining journalism.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:01 PM on August 13, 2006


I believe del.icio.us should be on this list. That site has certainly changed my world much more than genre sites like the Drudge Report and SlashDot.

One of the great things about del.icio.us, flickr and gmail, is how they've done a great job of promoting tags as a way of organizing data. I think they're impact would be greater felt once aspects of how they work are incorporated into more software applications. I'd much rather Firefox would ask or suggest what tags I wanted to use for a bookmark rather than the current file/folder method. It's funny how so many web applications are easier use and have better interfaces than commercial software.

Ask again in 2 years - I very much doubt that YouTube and MySpace will be on this list...

Probable, remember how broadcast.com and friendster used to be huge?
posted by bobo123 at 4:07 PM on August 13, 2006


I give easyJet four and half thumbs up.
posted by blue_beetle at 4:13 PM on August 13, 2006


One of the great things about del.icio.us, flickr and gmail, is how they've done a great job of promoting tags as a way of organizing data.

Oh, you mean keywords?
posted by Artw at 5:49 PM on August 13, 2006


And they missed the most "worldchanging" of them all

www.worldchanging.com


and how could they overlook

www.mytrailerpark.com
posted by thedailygrowl at 6:47 PM on August 13, 2006


Oh, you mean keywords?

Well tag is the teminology used by del.icio.us and flickr (gmail uses the term labels), I think the word tag is used because the word keyword sometimes implies a 1:1 relationship between the keyword and data (AOL keywords) or a type of metadata that is embedded within a file, even though I often see terms used interchangably (even on flickr). Tag seems to be used when something is being categorized (although the term catergory implies a hierarchy) rather than something that is of the file or data itself.
posted by bobo123 at 6:49 PM on August 13, 2006


Irregardless,Irregardless is not a word!
What a bad non-word OF A word it is (not). !
posted by longsleeves at 7:29 PM on August 13, 2006


Disregard the title link.
posted by longsleeves at 7:30 PM on August 13, 2006


I see that, as usual, avoiding mention is the one site destined to rule them all — at once insidious, powerful, and well-nigh impossible to resist. What is this veritable black hole of bits 'n' bytes, mere mention of which reduces stalwart adults to drooling blobs of gibberish?

Click ... if you dare.
posted by rob511 at 8:02 PM on August 13, 2006


Geocities, Hotmail ...? or are we only talking the last five years of "Sites that renewed your faith after you lost your shirt in the dotcom bust."
posted by missbossy at 8:38 PM on August 13, 2006


I'd drop blogger and youtube and replace them with jennicam. She started it all. (on second thought, maybe alt.binaries.pictures.*)

My personal claim to fame is a slashot uid less than 5000.
posted by simra at 9:29 PM on August 13, 2006


umm... I mean slashdot, no offense to slashot.
posted by simra at 9:30 PM on August 13, 2006


Was Blogger that influential in a way besides the term "blogger" gaining currency five years later? And was that because of the site "Blogger" or because some (usually right-wing) influential political commentators began referring to themselves as bloggers, whether they used Blogger or not, thus encouraging CNN to start using the word in every third story?

Blogger had been a company that let go of all of its employees, whose founder was bitterly busying himself writing a blog called "The End of Free", when Google purchased it and turned it into a free hosting site with well-designed templates. Does that right-click functionality that allowed you to post commentary with links to the sites you were viewing, to actually web log, exist with blogger anymore? Does Blogger as it exists now differ that much from Diaryland?
posted by TimTypeZed at 10:38 AM on August 14, 2006


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